Encouraging Your Student to Exercise in College

Parents are the encouragers.  We encourage our college students to study, to make friends, to get involved in activities at school, to get to know their professors.  Consider adding to your list encouraging your college student to get enough exercise.  According to a study done by researchers at Ohio State, as many as 52% of college students do not exercise.  The study also found that students differ in their response to social support for exercise, with women responding most to support of family and men responding more to support from friends.  However, whether your student is a male or female, consider asking about how much exercise he or she may be getting.

There are many reasons why students may not get enough exercise in college.  Although it is possible that students are spending too much time studying to fit exercise into their schedule, it is more likely a combination of many activities that crowd their schedule.  Students are spending time studying, working on or off campus, socializing with friends, and participating in campus activities.  They may have erratic schedules.  They may be overreacting to their dislike of high school gym class and viewing formal exercise as being back in the high school gym.  For some students, it is possible that friends provide a disincentive by viewing exercise as unimportant or ”uncool”.  Many students who were active in high school — either participating in sports or walking to and from school and/or jobs, may not realize how much less exercise they are getting now.

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Eight Phone Numbers Your College Student Should Have in Their Cell Phone

girl holding cell phone

Our college students have their cell phones with them wherever they go.  We see them everywhere — walking across campus, at dinner, at sporting events, when visiting with friends, while studying, even (unfortunately) in class.  Many students use their cell phone, not only for communication (by voice or text), but also as their clock or watch, their calendar, their memo keeper, their entertainment,  their alarm or reminder.  Their lives are almost as portable as their phone.

One of the advantages to having a cell phone with you everywhere you go is easy access to important phone numbers.  Your student’s cell phone is probably crammed with numbers for family and friends and other personal contacts.  Here are eight numbers your new college student should have in their phone — just in case.  It may certainly make life easier in an emergency.

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Helping Your College Student Stay Healthy Living in the Dorm

College life, for resident students, is communal life.  Students live together in apartments or dorms and share their music, their ideas, their belongings, their clothes, and their germs.  It is a truth of college life that many students begin to get sick just a few weeks into the semester.  They are tired, may not be eating right, and they have been living together and exposing each other to their germs.

You will not be able to prevent your student from getting sick, just as you couldn’t prevent it when they started pre-school or kindergarten.  You can, however, send them to school with a first aid kit, a comfort pack for when illness does strike, and some reminders of ways to try to fend off some illness or shorten the duration of the inevitable.

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Talk to Your Student About Preventing Theft in College

Most college students head off to college with lots of ”stuff”.  Students need to furnish their rooms, take the items that they need for daily living, take study aids, clothing, recreational items, and sentimental items that may remind them of home, family and friends.  Increasingly, many of the items that students need to take to college are expensive.  Students come to college armed with cell phones, laptops, video game consoles, TVs, bikes and cars.  All of these items are enticing: potentially easily stolen, and easily sold.

When it comes to theft on campus, many incidents are crimes of opportunity or convenience. Things are there, and they are easy to get at.  Some awareness, forethought, and careful actions on the part of your college student can help decrease the chances that they will become a victim of theft.

Talk to your student before they head off to school about campus safety.  It is important to be aware of how to take care of personal safety, but they’ll also need to think about how to protect belongings from theft.  There are some relatively simple things that your student can do to help keep track of those important belongings.

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Send Your Student to College With a ”Comfort Pack”

It is, of course, inevitable that your college student will get sick while at school.  It may happen early in your student’s college career, or it may not happen for a while.  They may be very ill, or more likely, just miserable with a cold or virus circulating through the residence hall.  For many students, that first illness often occurs a few weeks into the first semester — the seasons may begin to change, students may not be getting as much sleep as they should, may not be eating as well as they should, and they have all been in closer living contact and sharing their germs.

Even if it is simply the common cold, that first illness away from home is often a difficult time for students.  This may be the first time that they will need to care for themselves.  This may be a difficult time for you, as parent, as well.  You’d like to be there to provide the medication, the chicken soup, or maybe just the TLC.  However, there’s not much that you can do if your student is miles away at school, and this is an important life-learning experience anyway.  You may feel helpless and frustrated that you can’t be there.

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Beyond Band Aids: Send Your Student to College with a Dorm First Aid Kit

It is inevitable that sometime during the four years that your student is at college he will get hurt or sick.  Colleges have health centers to care for students who are injured or sick, and the local emergency room is available for more serious crises.  However, there will be many times through the college years when your student may just need a bit of help for minor injuries or ailments.  A good first aid kit never substitutes for a sympathetic parent, but when your student is on his own, he will be grateful if he has the necessary tools to help himself.

Put together a first aid kit to send to college with your student.  Of course, you hope she’ll never need it, but she will, and when she does, she’ll appreciate that you planned ahead.  Here are a few things to include in your student’s kit.

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The Freshman 15: Will Your College Student Gain More From College Than You Expected?

The Freshman 15.  It’s a classic myth about college. Students who head off to college will gain approximately 15 pounds during their freshman year.  The stories have been around for a long time.  They are persistent.  Are they still true?  Maybe.  Sometimes. While some studies do support the 15 pound theory, another suggests that the number may be closer to 4 pounds, and yet another suggests 5-7 pounds during the freshman year followed by 2-3 during the sophomore year.

You have many things to worry about as your student heads off to college, and whether or not she gains a few pounds may not be on the top of the list.  However, it is worth giving some thought to this myth — and its sometimes truth — because it may reflect some additional truths about college students’ health in general.

Why might your student gain weight just because he’s going to college?

If college students gain weight during freshman year, the reasons are as different as the students themselves.  It’s impossible to pinpoint any single reason, but the cumulative effect of several possible reasons may add up.

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College Spring Break: Another “Letting Go” Experience for Parents

If it is spring semester, spring break is on the minds of most students — and many of their parents.  Students have been hard at work since the fall, many have had a winter break at home with their families, and many students look forward to that mid-point of spring semester when they can let off steam.  Sending your student off to college as a first-year student was a sometimes frightening ”letting go” experience for many parents.  One of the next major steps of independence for many students may be heading off on a trip for spring break.

Not all students travel for spring break.  The reality is that many of those students who do head for the typical spring break destinations receive a lot of publicity, but these students represent only a portion of the number of college students in the country.  Many students cannot afford expensive spring break trips.  Many students head home for some quality down time with family, or extra study time. Some students spend break working to increase income.   Increasingly, many students opt to spend an alternative spring break traveling and doing community service work.  More and more colleges are offering organized alternatives to their students.  College athletes may travel with a team.  Some students spend the break doing internships.  And some students choose to travel — but not to prime student destinations.

If your student is coming home for break, remember that, just like winter break, your student probably needs some down time.  That may mean that she may spend much of the week sleeping, doing laundry, eating, catching up on TV, and possibly sleeping some more.  This is a vacation for your student.  She has likely just finished midterm exams, and she knows that she has a lot of work ahead of her when she returns to school.  Be patient with her student hours, her apparent lack of motivation, and her need for sleep.

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